Promoting a Virtual 5K with Google Ads

CDSMFV5K banner

We recently helped the Captain David Seath Memorial Fund promote their virtual 5K event.

The charity runs three events each year to raise money for Help for Heroes. It was set up in memory of Captain David Seath who tragically died while running the London Marathon in 2016.

We previously worked with the charity at their annual golf day.

Captain David Seath Memorial Fund banner

The COVID-19 effect

As with everything else, the global COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the charity’s event plans in 2020. Their regular 5K walk/run event, usually held in April, was initially postponed, then replaced with a virtual event in October. Their Golf Day in September was also cancelled.

As the event was virtual, participants were given more choice in activities they could complete. These included cycling, swimming or even a round of golf.

As people could complete the virtual 5K anywhere, the charity also decided to promote the event more widely than in previous years (the 5K is usually held at Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline).

CDSMF 5K event

Marketing the virtual 5K event

The charity chose to use a mixture of advertising channels to promote the event. They shared a mixture of free and paid posts on Facebook, linking through to an Eventbrite page where people could sign up.

They were also keen to try Google Ads, partly to raise awareness of the event further afield, but also to inform future marketing activity for the 2021 Golf Day.

Running Google Ads campaigns

Keyword research

The first part of our work was to investigate how similar events are found online. We used Google’s keyword planner tool to discover the words and phrases used on their search engine. This information then informed the content to be used in ads and on landing pages.

Virtual 5K keyword research

We decided to focus on four activities; run, walk, cycle and golf.

Landing pages

Google likes you to have subject-specific landing pages on your website, rather than having ads pointing to a generic homepage. As such, we set up a new page for each ad campaign.

Each page included a brief introduction paragraph, a call to action (CTA) button linking users through to the Eventbrite signup page, further instructions and a section telling them more about the charity.

Virtual 5K run landing page

Tracking was added to the pages to monitor clicks of the CTA button using Google Tag Manager. These, in turn, registered conversions on both Google Ads and Google Analytics. This information was also added to their existing Data Studio dashboard which we set up previously.

Ads for the virtual 5K

We worked with the charity on content for a total of 12 Google Ads, three per campaign. The content was based on the earlier keyword research.

Virtual 5K run ads

The ads, which appear at the top of Google searches, were seen over 6,000 times during the two-week campaign, attracting 147 clicks in total.

During the campaign, the charity’s website saw a 246% increase in users, a 242% increase in sessions (individual visits) and a 274% increase in page views compared to the previous period. While only three conversions were recorded, Google Ads did serve to raise the profile of the virtual 5K event and charity.

Work with us

Are you interested in raising the profile of your business online? If you’re considering using online marketing channels like Google, Facebook or LinkedIn, get in touch to see how we can help. We offer reduced rates for charities.